Justia Patents Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Drugs & Biotech
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Since 2014 Par has manufactured and sold Vasostrict®, an FDA-approved vasopressin injection product used to treat patients with critically low blood pressure. The Orange Book identifies Par’s 785 and 209 patents as encompassing Vasostrict®. Both patents require the vasopressin composition to have a rounded pH between 3.7–3.9. In 2018, Eagle filed an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) to manufacture and sell a generic version of Vasostrict® before those patents expired. Eagle represented in its release specification that the pH range would be between 3.4–3.6. Eagle’s ANDA also contained 35 U.S.C. 355(j)(2)(A)(vii)(IV) certification that Par’s patents are invalid or will not be infringed by Eagle’s proposed product.Par sued for infringement under 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2). Eagle stipulated that its proposed product would meet all asserted claim limitations except the claimed pH range. Par argued that “real-world” evidence shows the pH of Eagle’s product drifts up over time and that Eagle sought authority to release products into the marketplace with a pH of 3.64, just 0.01 beneath the infringing range. The Federal Circuit affirmed the rejection of those arguments. Minor fluctuations in pH value identified by Par did not reveal any discernible trend and the stability specification imposed an additional constraint that Eagle’s proposed product maintain a pH between 3.4–3.6 from the time of its distribution through its entire shelf life. View "Par Pharmaceutical, Inc. v. Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law

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The patents share the same specification and are entitled “Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Graft Rejection in Organ Transplant Patients.” They discuss diagnosing or predicting organ transplant status by using methods to detect a donor’s cell-free DNA (cfDNA). When an organ transplant is rejected, the recipient’s body, through its natural immune response, destroys the donor cells, releasing cfDNA from the donated organ’s dying cells into the blood. These increased levels of donor cfDNA—which occur naturally as the organ’s condition deteriorates—can be detected and then used to diagnose the likelihood of an organ transplant rejection.In an infringement action, the district court found the patents ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The court applied the Supreme Court’s two-part “Alice” test to determine whether the claims were patent-eligible applications of laws of nature and natural phenomena or claims that impermissibly tie up such laws and phenomena. The claims boil down to collecting a bodily sample, analyzing the cfDNA using conventional techniques, including PCR, identifying naturally occurring DNA from the donor organ, and then using the natural correlation between heightened cfDNA levels and transplant health to identify a potential rejection, none of which was inventive. This is not a case involving a method of preparation or a new measurement technique. View "CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc" on Justia Law

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Novartis markets a 0.5 mg daily dose of fingolimod hydrochloride under the brand name Gilenya, for treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, a debilitating immune-mediated demyelinating disease. There is currently no cure for MS. The disease is managed by reducing or preventing relapses and thereby slowing disability. HEC filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) seeking approval to market a generic version of Gilenya. Novartis sued, alleging that HEC’s ANDA infringes all claims of its patent. The Federal Circuit initially affirmed a holding that the patent is not invalid and that HEC’s ANDA infringes that patent.On rehearing, the Federal Circuit reversed. Because the Novartis patent fails to disclose the absence of a loading dose, the district court clearly erred in finding that the negative claim limitation “absent an immediately preceding loading dose” added during prosecution to overcome prior art satisfied the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a). The specification nowhere describes “initially” administering a daily dosage. View "Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Accord Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

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Congestive heart failure can be treated by resynchronization therapy, using electrical pacing leads to help keep the two sides of the heart contracting with regularity and in sync. According to Niazi's 268 patent, physicians previously accomplished resynchronization by inserting a catheter into the coronary sinus and its branch veins to place pacing leads on the hearts of patients; it can be “difficult to pass a lead” into the coronary sinus and its branch veins using a catheter. The 268 patent describes a double catheter, comprising an outer and inner catheter, for cannulating the coronary sinus “without significant manipulation.” Niazi sued for patent infringement, accusing combinations of St. Jude’s products of directly infringing the 268 patent and accusing St. Jude of inducing infringement.The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s determination that all but one of the asserted patent claims are invalid as indefinite; when read in light of the intrinsic evidence, a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand the scope of the claims with reasonable certainty. Niazi failed to prove direct infringement—a necessary element of Niazi’s inducement claim. The court affirmed the entry of monetary sanctions and the exclusion of portions of Niazi’s technical expert and damages expert reports because Niazi failed to disclose predicate facts during discovery. The court upheld the exclusion of portions of Niazi’s damages expert report as unreliable. View "Niazi Licensing Corp. v. St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc." on Justia Law

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Almirall’s patent relates to methods of treating acne or rosacea with dapsone formulations that include an acrylamide/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer (A/SA) thickening agent and the solvent diethylene glycol monoethyl ether (DGME), which allows compositions to be prepared with increased solubilized concentrations of dapsone. A polymeric viscosity builder such as an A/SA, can minimize the yellowing of the composition and can reduce the particle size, and minimize a gritty feel upon application. The Almirral patent includes 62 generalized composition embodiments and eight specific example formulations.On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed that claims 1–8 would have been obvious over prior art at the time the alleged invention was made. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Board’s decision sets forth factual findings of similarity between carbomers and A/SA agents that support its conclusion that prior art discloses a range for each component of the composition that either fully encompasses or overlaps/abuts the ranges and amounts for those components recited in the challenged claims, sufficient to create a presumption of obviousness. The court upheld the Board’s analysis of whether a skilled artisan would have had a reasonable expectation of success in combining prior art teachings to achieve the claimed invention. View "Almirall, LLC v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC" on Justia Law

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Adapt’s patents-in-suit claim methods of treating opioid overdose by intranasal administration of a naloxone formulation, and devices for intranasal administration. Naloxone—the active ingredient in Adapt’s NARCAN® Nasal Spray—is an opioid receptor antagonist that blocks opioids from reaching the opioid receptors, helping reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Before the priority date of the patents-in-suit, numerous naloxone products had been used to treat opioid overdose. The patents-in-suit are listed in the FDA’s “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations” “Orange Book.” Teva submitted to the FDA Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) seeking approval to manufacture and sell a generic version of NARCAN®., with a Paragraph IV certification asserting that the patents-in-suit are invalid, unenforceable, and/or not infringed, 21 U.S.C. 355(j)(2)(A)(vii)(IV).Adapt sued Teva for infringement under 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2). The Federal Circuit affirmed a holding that the asserted claims of the patents-in-suit would have been obvious in view of prior art. The district court’s findings, supported by ample evidence, provide a detailed explanation as to why a skilled artisan would have been motivated to combine the prior art references to arrive at the claimed invention. Prior art, as a whole, did not teach away from the claimed invention. The court rejected Adapt’s argument that its evidence of unexpected results, copying, skepticism, long-felt need, and failure of others indicated nonobviousness. View "Adapt Pharma Operations Ltd. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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Novartis markets a 0.5 mg daily dose of fingolimod hydrochloride under the brand name Gilenya. The medication is used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, a debilitating immune-mediated demyelinating disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin coating the nerves in the central nervous system. Most MS patients initially present as RRMS patients, but many eventually develop a secondary progressive form of MS, causing them to experience growing disability. There is currently no cure for MS. The disease is managed by reducing or preventing relapses and thereby slowing disability.HEC filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) seeking approval to market a generic version of Gilenya. Novartis sued, alleging that HEC’s ANDA infringes all claims of the 405 patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed a holding that the patent is not invalid and that HEC’s ANDA infringes. The 405 claims do not fail the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a). The district court did not clearly err in finding that a skilled artisan would read the 405 patent’s disclosure to describe the “absent an immediately preceding loading dose” negative limitation. View "Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Accord Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

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AstraZeneca’s asserted patents are listed in the FDA’s “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations” (Orange Book), as covering AstraZeneca’s Symbicort® pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI). The Symbicort® pMDI is approved for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). AstraZeneca has marketed a dry powder inhaler version of Symbicort® (Symbicort® Turbuhaler) since the early 1990s. Both the Symbicort® pMDI and the Symbicort® Turbuhaler administer two active ingredients to the lungs—formoterol, a bronchodilator that opens the airway, and budesonide, a steroid that reduces inflammation in the lungs. Mylar's predecessor submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) to the FDA, seeking approval to manufacture and sell a generic version of Symbicort® pMDI.AstraZeneca sued Mylan for infringement. After claim construction, Mylan stipulated to infringement. The district court entered judgment accordingly, then held a bench trial and determined that Mylan failed to prove that the asserted claims are invalid as obvious. The Federal Circuit vacated the judgment of infringement, disagreeing with the district court’s claim construction of “0.001%,” the claimed amount of the excipient PVP, on which the stipulated judgment of infringement was based. The court affirmed the determination of nonobviousness, finding no clear error in the district court’s finding that the prior art taught away from the claimed invention. View "AstraZeneca AB v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc." on Justia Law

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In the 1980s, researchers suggested using mifepristone to treat Cushing’s syndrome, a disease caused by excessive cortisol levels. More than 20 years later, Corcept initiated the first major clinical trial of mifepristone and obtained FDA approval for Korlym, a mifepristone tablet, with postmarketing requirements (21 U.S.C. 355(o)(3)), including a drug-drug interaction clinical trial involving co-administration of ketoconazole. The FDA approved the prescribing information for Korlym on its label, which warned against using mifepristone “with strong CYP3A inhibitors” and limited the “mifepristone dose to 300 mg per day when used with strong CYP3A inhibitors.” Corcept conducted the drug-drug interaction study, then obtained the 214 patent relating to methods of treating Cushing’s syndrome by co-administering mifepristone and a strong CYP3A inhibitor.Corcept asserted the 214 patent against Teva, Teva sought post-grant review, arguing that certain claims would have been obvious in light of Korlym’s label and the FDA memo describing the required drug interaction study (Lee). The Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s rejection of the obviousness claims. The Board did not err by requiring Teva to show a reasonable expectation of success for a specific mifepristone dosage. The general working conditions disclosed in Lee did not encompass the claimed invention. A skilled artisan would not have expected monotherapy and coadministration dosages to behave similarly. View "Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Corcept Therapeutics, Inc." on Justia Law

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Arbutus's patent, directed to “stable nucleic acid-lipid particles (SNALP) comprising a nucleic acid (such as one or more interfering RNA), methods of making the SNALP, and methods of delivering and/or administering the SNALP,” describes the invention as “novel, serum-stable lipid particles comprising one or more active agents or therapeutic agents, methods of making the lipid particles, and methods of delivering and/or administering the lipid particles (e.g., for the treatment of a disease or disorder)”; “[t]he present invention is based, in part, upon the surprising discovery that lipid particles comprising … provide advantages when used for the in vitro or in vivo delivery of an active agent, such as a therapeutic nucleic acid (e.g., an interfering RNA)”; the particles are “stable in circulation, e.g., resistant to degradation by nucleases in serum and are substantially non-toxic” to humans.On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board held that the claims of the patent are not unpatentable as obvious. The Federal Circuit affirmed, first holding that that Moderna could pursue its appeal based on the risk of an infringement suit. Substantial evidence—including prior art and expert testimony—supports a finding that optimizing the four interdependent lipid components in prior art nucleic acid-lipid particles would not have been routine, and Moderna’s proposed adjustments to the lipid components are hindsight driven. View "ModernaTx, Inc. v. Arbutus Biopharma Corp." on Justia Law